CBD children ‘at risk of stunted development’

NZ herald Sep 04, 2009

Children’s development may be put at risk by being crammed into cheap, central Auckland apartments, a public health researcher says. City planners aiming for more urban intensification must start taking into account the needs of children, such as by providing adequate play areas, Massey University Associate Professor Karen Witten told a Public Health Association conference in Dunedin.

Professor Witten showed her audience examples of the cramped, poor-quality housing built in Auckland’s rush to encourage inner-city living before authorities demanded better standards and more living space. She said the 16,000 apartment units built between 1991 and 2007 were intended for students and couples without children, “They are often very small, very cheaply built and poorly designed. They weren’t built for families, but families have moved in.” Nearly 3000 under-15s lived in the inner-city, after several years of growth that had far outstripped the population growth in that age group across Auckland City. Almost half of the families living in the CBD were one-parent households.